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Calls return for Kra Canal feasibility study

Calls return for Kra Canal feasibility study

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A centuries-old Southeast Asian canal project is being dusted off once again.

Plans to create a waterway through southern Thailand’s isthmus were first mooted in 1677. The so-called Kra Canal would link the South China Sea with the Andaman Sea and provide an alternative to the Malacca Strait. Every few years the infrastructure project reappears in the headlines, normally shot down due to its prohibitive costs. Now a group of influential retired Thai generals, politicians, academics and businessmen with close links to China are pitching the current Thai government to carry out a feasibility study for the 135 km long waterway.

The Nikkei Asian Review reports that a group called the Thai Canal Association of Study and Development is trying to persuade Thailand’s prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to approve a feasibility study. The group believes the canal plays into China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure spending between Asia and Europe.

However, in recent years both Thai and Chinese authorities have distanced themselves from the Kra project.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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